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Thread: Can someone explain to me why Nigella is so popular?

  1. #1

    Can someone explain to me why Nigella is so popular?

    I don't understand the popularity of Nigella Lawson. I've seen a few of her shows and flipped through her books. To be honest, I don't know why everyone raves about her. I much prefer Jamie Oliver who seems more genuine and enthusiastic. Her food writing doesn't impress me either. Fellow foodies, what gives?

  2. #2
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    See, pretty much everything you don't like about her, I enjoy. I don't fawn over her, but do enjoy her show, and find her food a refreshing change from my usual routine.

    I think it's just a difference of opinion. It's like trying to tell someone why you like chocolate ice cream over vanilla.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

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    Well, here's another end of the spectrum... I've never heard of her except for this BB. I can honestly say I've never seen one of her shows OR books. So, I really don't get it! (showing my naivete as a supposed "foodie")
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    I like chocolate AND vanilla
    I also enjoy Nigella.

    I first read her "How to Eat" book when I was cataloging it for our library. I find her writing entertaining and her perspective on things unique and nice.
    I think she is beautiful and I admire her so much for not being freaked out about gaining weight on national TV.
    Her strength (personal tragedies) and smile are refreshing.

    I also really enjoy her recipes. As she was quoted on the 60 mintues show, she is the antithesis of Martha Stewart. Now, I enjoy Martha and I feel she has a place...but she can be somewhat intense.
    Nigella seems more carefree, both her attitude towards life and her cooking style.
    Measuring isn't necessary (unless it's baked goods), her kitchen isn't spotless, her pantry looks like mine , she loves collecting cookbooks, she also uses a lot of ethnic themes to her menu, which I enjoy.
    In short, there's little I don't like about her.

    I agree she can't be all things to all people and she just may not be your cup of tea.
    Just like I can't watch Rachael Ray or Sarah Moulton (their voices drive me up a wall)--but I do like their recipes

    ...and I like Jamie Oliver too
    Thoreau said, 'A man is rich in proportion to the things he can leave alone.'

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    I agree with Bethany - it's just a matter of taste, I think, but I can tell you why I love her so much....

    Basically, it's because she's real (at least to me). She's the antithesis of Martha Stewart. She doesn't do things for her own self glorification. She loves to create great food so she can share it with the people she loves. It's not about the perfect preparation of anything - it's about creating (as easily as possible) something wonderful to sit around with friends and family and truly enjoy. I love how much pleasure she gets out of what she creates, as opposed to the pleasure she gets in the creating.

    She also has a wonderful way with words, especially in describing everything. I think a blind person could listen to her show and "see" exactly what she's making, and get just as excited! The way she describes colors and textures and consistencies and tastes, is just such fun to listen to.

    I do like Jamie Oliver too, but his food is a bit too froo-froo for me. More "fancy restaurant-ish". Not that that's a bad thing, but it's not what I like to make for myself at home on a regular basis. Nigella is all about home cooking. Also, the jerky camera work on his show makes me nauseous and gives me a headache - I can't watch it.

    Also, if you watch Nigella, she has terrible knife skills, and I think even a tad klutzy, but that's another thing I find endearing. It doesn't stop her from being a terrific cook nonetheless. Like I said, she just seems like a real person. Not trying to impress anyone. But again, I agree that it's just a personal thing - and this is just my opinion!

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    I hadn't heard of her before these BBs, either. I went and bought "How to be a Domestic Goddess" and it is SO fun. She even admits in the book that she's a klutz. I agree... the antithesis of Martha (although I do enjoy her at times, too). Cooking and baking is supposed to be fun, not stressful.

    Kate

    PS: The Domestic Goddess book gives lots of variations to her recipes... I like that!

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    I have to concur with many of the above posters - I also like that she has a healthy attitude about eating itself. That's why her book is called "How to Eat" and not "How to Cook." I have three of her cookbooks, and the recipes I've tried from them tend to be straight-forward to make and yummy to eat. I enjoy the way she writes and also like watching her show. Unlike Martha, Nigella seems like someone I would want to know and be friends with - she's not so structured in her approach to things.

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    You have all said it better than I could have, and I agree with what Grace, wallycat, and the others said above. She has a genuine love of cooking and food, and takes great, obvious pleasure in both. Her books have a lot of humor in them, which makes them fun to read. Her recipes are also pretty realistic (except for the fact that some ingredients are easier to get in Britain than they are here), and pretty easy to do. Her attitude tends to be, do what works best for you, and, above all, enjoy it (SO anti-Martha). Martha's about perfection, Nigella's about pleasure. I'm an anglophile too, so maybe that has something to do with it.

    But, obviously, everyone has their own idea of what a cookbook or cooking show should be, and Nigella is not to everyone's taste. I really like Jamie Oliver too--I seem them as kindred spirits more than rivals. I also like Jacques Pepin and of course Julia. And Martin Yan. But, while I love Rick Bayless' books and both his restaurants in Chicago, something about his voice or personality bugs me a little, and I rarely watch his show. Go figure.
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  9. #9
    At the risk of being thrown off the BB...I don't find Nigella to be all that genuine. She seems very Martha, in her own anti--Martha way. She loves high-fat foods and doesn't wear an apron etc, but it seems calculated to me. (i.e. she acts like an average slob but manages to look stunning)

  10. #10
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    Originally posted by foodfiend
    At the risk of being thrown off the BB...I don't find Nigella to be all that genuine. She seems very Martha, in her own anti--Martha way. She loves high-fat foods and doesn't wear an apron etc, but it seems calculated to me. (i.e. she acts like an average slob but manages to look stunning)
    Once again, above are our opinions. Just opinions. I find her to be very genuine, and warm, very non-Martha, etc etc.
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  11. #11
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    I haven't heard of her either except on this BB. Where do you see her show? She isn't on Food Network, which most people watch. I don't understand her popularity either.

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    i just love watching her. There's something about the way they film her show that DRAWS me in- maybe it's the sound of the mezzaluna chopping frantically on the board, or the way the egg plops into the bowl after it's been cracked or could it be the way nigella seems to float from one recipe to another with such grace.

    plus i think she's beautiful. I have never tried a single recipe of hers. i did buy HTBADG for a homeroom mom I had once. I just enjoy watching her. that's all. enough said.

    christina<><
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    jm1717 - she's on the Style channel. Not everyone gets that channel. When you see her, it's likely you'll understand why everyone loves her so much.

    And again, it's just my opinion, but it's exactly this dichotomy (being an everyday "slob" while still looking stunning) that makes her so attractive (at least to me). I don't find it the least bit contrived. It doesn't seem impossible to me to be naturally beautiful without having to try really hard. Not so easy that everyone can do it, but something I certainly wish I had! I love the idea of not having to work so hard at being beautiful (like most women do) - that she just manages to without much effort is like the ultimate! I'm envious!!

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    I adore her writing... but I confess that I have never once tried any of her recipes. I got Nigella Bites, and read it cover to cover like a novel. I loved her descriptions of ingredients and occasions for which a dish would be just perfect. But I just can't bring myself to make any of the dishes! It's probably because they look so high-fat, and while I am not a fat-Nazi I just want to KNOW something is going to be AMAZING if I make a full-fat version, and I can't tell that from her recipes. Is it a case of the whole being more than the sum of it's parts?

    I really want HTBADG, though.
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  15. #15
    Originally posted by foodfiend
    At the risk of being thrown off the BB...I don't find Nigella to be all that genuine. She seems very Martha, in her own anti--Martha way. She loves high-fat foods and doesn't wear an apron etc, but it seems calculated to me. (i.e. she acts like an average slob but manages to look stunning)
    I had dinner a few weeks ago with someone who knows her very well. We were discussing "the real Nigella" and he says that she is every bit as genuine and fun as she appears. She's very down-to-earth and LOVES food.

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    I can see how Nigella would not be everyone's cup of tea.
    I don't make many of her recipes either. She loves her meat!

    What I do adore is her writing-chatty, interesting and witty. I love that her books read like she talks on her show.
    Make no mistake she is definately an upper class Brit who probably has alot of help behind the scenes. But her genuine love of fine food and feeding others definately shines thorgh everything she does.

    i use to quite enjoy Jamie but have gone off him but i don't really know wy.
    I wonder what Nigella's next book will be about?
    You think you're not ever going to be able to eat another thing, but alas, you will find yourself feeling strangely peckish around teatime. The more you eat, the more you want. That's the way it goes."

    Nigella Lawson

  17. #17
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    I wonder what Nigella's next book will be about?
    I had read somewhere where she might not come out with another book/series for quite a while. I don't think "Forever Summer" did very well in Britain (at least compared to the others).

    So - we might have to content ourselves with her column in the NY Times!

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    Never heard of her, but then I do NOT watch the food shows, or the food channel!
    Curleytop

  19. #19
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    I can't say that I'm a big Nigella fan. I haven't read her books, nor made any of her recipes. But I do like watching her show. She seems so relaxed in the kitchen, that watching her cook is almost relaxing. I also never pay attention to Martha- she celebrates procedure way too much for me. Interestingly though, a few weeks back Nigella made a beautiful salad using watermelon and feta cheese- a very unique cobination. Guess what was on Martha this morning? A watermelon salad with feta cheese. I wonder who made it first?
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    Well that recipe is in "Forever Summer" so I'm betting on Nigella.

    I adore her writing and LOVE her recipes; I've made dozens so far and been pretty happy overall. Until last night I had never seen her on TV (and btw she is on Oprah tomorrow afternoon!) as I don't get Style and kept missing the infrequent reruns on E!.

    I am not a food show fan and actually avoided her because she had a show

    I've never seen Jamie Oliver either but I did read his book and was less than impressed.

    Laura
    a HUGE Nigella fan

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    I love differing opinions, that is what makes this bored so great. You can love Martha, loathe Nigella, or vice versa, or heck hate em' both! As all foodies are we must be different, or it would be a very boring culinary world.

    Personally, I am not a big Nigella Fan. I got her book from the library, but it just was not my cup of tea (sorry for the unintended british pun). I also checked out Jaimie Oliver's book to, and it didn't interest me either.

    I do love Martha and all her cookbooks. Although my absolute favorite chef in the world and favorite cook book in the world is Thomas Keller and "The French Laundry Cookbook". LIke Anthony Bourdain said, it's foodie porn! I think I would be like a teenager at a rock concert if I got to eat in his resturant. I also love his philosopy on life and cooking. He said something like make your counter spotless after every prep and translate that into EVERYTHING you do.

    Shannon
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    Wink

    I know this thread is about Nigella, and not about other tv chef hosts, but I'll confess my fixation and secret crush on Alton Brown. I watch Alton because he makes me laugh often, and I can relate to someone pan-frying a whole fish for breakfast from inside a sleeping bag. Besides all that he's just downright sexy explaining the chemistry behind saturated and unsaturated fats.
    Wendy

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    Ditto Wendy, Alton rocks!
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    Wendy,
    you do know about http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com , right?

    Oh yeah, this was a thread about Nigella...
    I haven't seen her show all that much, but the few recipes I have tried have been quite good and pretty easy to follow.
    I don't need time. What I need is a deadline.
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    Wendy,

    You MUST read Alton's cookbook -- I'm Just Here for the Food! It's absolutely hysterical! I've made the corn dogs and pork chops from it and they're wonderful. I read the whole book just as a novel, too!

    Kate

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    Ditto Wendy, Alton rocks!

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    Oh dear, Oskie, I got sucked into the AB fan pages, websites, and now after a ton of laughs, and an inspiration to buy the cookbook I am off to make dinner. Sigh, if only my husband were just a little more like AB.
    Wendy

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    Hi. I just wanted to add my 2 cents as a huge Nigella fan. I bought How to be a Domestic Goddess when I saw it at Barnes and Noble, having never seen the show or heard of Nigella Lawson. I loved the book because of her down to earth and conversational writing style, and I just felt she had a lot of "heart." After that, my mom recorded the shows for me and I absolutely loved seeing her in action, especially any scenes with her kids. I love that she is so forgiving of anything you want to do with the recipes ("this is what I do, you can do anything you want") and that she is such a proponent of home food, as opposed to trying to whip up a restaurant-style concoction. Her background of hardships makes her seem very real. Plus, she is stunning to look at. Oh, and the recipes! I've made several and have been very happy overall.

  29. #29
    nigella is refreshing. she has a style that is rich, comfy & entertaining all at once. she attracts viewers, just like alton brown or emeril. they all have their own flair that makes them appealing.

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    I LOVE Alton Brown. I have his book and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was tiring of just reading through then following recipes like a drone. I like knowing why food works the way it does.

    I like Nigella because she makes ethnic foods interesting. Her recipes are simple--and ethnic foods can get complicated. Yes, a lot of her food is high fat...but If I had a TV show, I think I'd be showcasing my best recipes--and most of those aren't low fat I also like that a lot of her recipes don't call for expensive ingredients. I did her lentil goat cheese salad tonight. YUM! The ingredients cost me less that $5. I think she's gorgeous and a normal cook, not a "professional". She approaches food like I would...because I love to eat, not because I love to spend hours chopping and mincing and concocting.

    Jamie Oliver is ok, but he tends to use pricy meat cuts and a lot of his stuff is time consuming.
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